Hay fever - Steroid injections, yes or no?

It used to be thought appropriate to administer an injection of a slow release form of steroid to patients suffering severe, uncontrolled symptoms of hayfever. This would often be done as irritatingly, high pollen counts always seem to coincide with the examination season. There is little doubt that the injections work, often relieving symptoms for a prolonged period. However, large trials were performed to examine the evidence for and against this form of therapy. Steroids are powerful drugs, with potentially serious side effects. The trials done seemed to show that administering the drug in this way cannot be justified. Once administered it can't be removed; if there are any adverse effects such as depression, disturbance of the menstrual cycle or muscle weakness, the drug cannot be withdrawn. It could also be considered over-treatment as the severe symptoms may be relatively short-lived. In the event of someone suffering severe symptoms, a course of oral steroids may be a useful alternative to bring about some immediate relief.

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This article published on
04 December 2005

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